Gargantua and Pantagruel

Introduction

The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel (French: La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel) is a pentalogy of novels written in the 16th century by François Rabelais, which tells of the adventures of two giants, Gargantua (/ɡɑrˈɡæntʃuːə/; French: [ɡaʁ.ɡɑ̃.ty.a]) and his son Pantagruel (/pænˈtæɡruːˌɛl, -əl, ˌpæntəˈɡruːəl/; French: [pɑ̃.ta.ɡʁy.ɛl]). The text is written in an amusing, extravagant, and satirical vein, and features much crudity, scatological humor, and violence (lists of explicit or vulgar insults fill several chapters). The censors of the Collège de la Sorbonne stigmatized it as obscene,[1] and in a social climate of increasing religious oppression, it was treated with suspicion, and contemporaries avoided mentioning it.[2] According to Rabelais, the philosophy of his giant Pantagruel, "Pantagruelism", is rooted in "a certain gaiety of mind pickled in the scorn of fortuitous things" (French: une certaine gaîté d'esprit confite dans le mépris des choses fortuites).

Rabelais had studied Ancient Greek and he applied it in inventing hundreds of new words in the text, some of which became part of the French language.[3] Wordplay and risqué humor abound in his writing.


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